• Run by The Royal College of Anaesthetists, in partnership with the National Tracheostomy Safety Project, the Global Tracheostomy Collaborative and University Hospital South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, and others.
  • A national initiative to improve care for tracheostomy patients.
  • Will introduce a quality improvement package to transform the practice and culture of tracheostomy care into patient-centred, equitable and efficient clinical care.
  • Models of optimal care and the methods to implement them to be provided.

Tracheostomies are small plastic tubes that are inserted into the neck to act as artificial airways. Around 15,000 patients in England and Wales have new tracheostomies each year. These patients need competent, knowledgeable care to keep them safe as airway problems can rapidly become fatal, especially in the critically ill. In addition, the needs of patients frequently cross traditional specialty working boundaries and locations.

A Shine 2014 project, Implementing the Global Tracheostomy Collaborative (GTC) quality improvement project, involved a number of quality improvement (QI) measures being introduced into four hospitals in South Manchester. Resources included staff education, equipment provision, reorganisation of care, and involvement of patient and staff champions. The project resulted in a significant reduction in the severity of harm of tracheostomy-related patient safety incidents.

The Shine project demonstrated that it is possible to improve quality and safety of care by introducing innovative changes to the way hospitals manage these patients. This Spreading Improvement project will scale up this successful work; improving care for these high-risk patients on a national scale.

The project team will work with 20 UK secondary or tertiary care sites who are managing tracheostomy patients, and help them to rapidly implement QI measures, thereby changing the practice and culture of tracheostomy care into patient-centred, equitable and efficient clinical care.

A national collaborative environment will be created, with sites supporting each other. A likely ‘best recipe’ will then be developed for the nature, scale and order of QI interventions, which will guide future adoption and sustainability.